EDMG340 Part A,B – Understanding that liability can often be an issue



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Understanding that liability can often be an issue in the wake of hazardous materials events and potentially so too, in hazardous materials response, how do you think such awareness might impact your decision making as a prospective incident commander?

Can you be held civilly or criminally responsible as an Incident Commander for actions undertaken in a hazardous materials response incident?  Under what circumstances might personal/professional liability be in question?


During the research for the week two assignment, I found a bit of information about legal liability for an Incident Commander. After going through this weeks readings and the lesson material I learned a lot more about liability and legal responsibility. I would assuredly say that better knowledge on the subject and what I could personally be held liable for would more heavily influence my decisions if I were in the Commander seat. 

With legal recourse for actions taken that result in negligence and misconduct, it hammers home the message that actions have consequences. Ideally, no one would be intentionally performing actions that result in failure or propagation of the incident or its associated hazard. The possibility is still there and more often then not, planning for second and third order effects should be considered. One of the readings in the lesson highlighted this kind of offense when two firefighters were killed and one more was injured in a townhome fire response. 

I can see how managing multiple facets of an operation, mixing it with a bit of chaos, and any other contributing factor can cause oversight of crucial information in the moment and lead to a poor decision. Being held accountable balances out the job, being afraid of assuming that liability causes a stigma and an avoidance of the position. If the environment that an individual works in is perceived to be one where no matter what actions are taken, the end result will be the same, it will cause deterrence. 

Depending on level of negligence or misconduct, whether intentional or unintentional,  and the outcome of such actions, an individual can be held criminally and civilly liable during a hazardous materials response incident. Below is the liabilities outlined from 71 FR 8485.



Investigate Terrorist Threats in a Global Perspective

  Are we ready for the next attack? Why or why not? State and support your position. In terms of your readings –  what do you believe the most probable threat is, what could, or what should we be doing to be prepared? In responding,  explore (through your own research) and indicate technologies that could be considered in the detection of Nuclear, Biological or Chemical (NBC) agents in the Homeland and by first response personnel and organizations.


I do not think that the United States is ever fully ready for the next attack. There is constant training across the states for attacks as such however the United States has not suffered a large scale WMD attack before. The Homeland Response Force, CBRN teams and CASE teams that I am apart of is evaluated every 36 months in how we respond to an attack, our Civil Support Teams (CST) are constantly trainings, it is their full time job as they are called out on smaller scale events as well. Regardless of all the trainings, if the United States were to be attacked by a larger scale event it would be chaos at the start but I believe that the trainings would kick in and aid in the response to an attack. 

I believe that a biological threat would be the most probable threat. This can be seen through one of the biggest events in the world which was COVID. This threat spread fast, quick and at first to late to be detected. The entire world shut down, many people suffered death, additional medical issues and overall the quality of life for millions decreased. Who is to say that COVID wasn’t an attack? It can be difficult to prepare for biological attacks because people do not live in a bubble, germs, bacteria and biological attacks can be spread easily from person to person traveling all around the world. I think that advanced research and detective devices need to be put into place to be able help detect any outlier biological effects. Updated equipment for those who are first responders as well as civilian education classes to increase societal knowledge on the subject. 


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